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You’re busy, I’m busy. So I try to keep these thoughts, based loosely on the life of a journalist, to a few pithy paragraphs. Thanks for reading!

My laptop’s been sick this week. Trying to synch it up with a brand new desktop Imac that I bought last month seems to have been too much for both of them. For the past 48 hours, they’ve been in the software hospital that is Brighton’s Apple store.

After the initial rising panic — “just how DO you run a business without a computer?”— I’ve calmed down, and offer these suggestions.

1. Read a business book.  Use the time to actually pick the thing up and turn its pages, just like you did when you were a kid. I’m mulling over Antoinette Dale Henderson’s thoughtful Leading With Gravitas at the moment, and revving up Martin Riley’s Business Jet Engine. Turning pages may not send a thrill through everyone, but I find the absence of a screen intensifies my thoughts. Speaking of which …

2. Think. Maybe go for a walk in the December drizzle, or just watch it through a window. It reminds me of when I spent a year taking the railway up to London each day to train BBC journalists. It was 2009 — just before the Iphone revolution changed what we all did on trains. I think I got my best ideas gazing out over the beautiful Ouse Valley Viaduct just north of Haywards Heath.

3. Write Christmas cards to some business contacts (if it’s December, natch.)  There’s something about a 60p card with a 56p stamp that took a couple of minutes to write and address by hand that says “I value our relationship”. I’m just not convinced a Mailchimped greeting quite does that, even if it does have 60 animated Santas.

On which note — let me thank you for reading my musings this year, wish you the best of business fortune for 2018, and hope Santa delivers what you dream of this Christmas. For me, for now, it’s an IMac and laptop that actually work together …  though it’s nice to know my business won’t fold immediately if they don’t …

I’m busy, you’re busy.  So I keep these tips, all based on my adventures in newsrooms, to five pithy paragraphs.  Do spread the word if you find them useful for your own workplace. 

Taking notes may seem a rather quaint notion these days.  I’ve delivered many a workshop on workplace skills to new employees who don’t think to pick up a pen until I suggest it.  But if you agree that note-taking during a meeting or at a conference is a rather useful skill, here’s a tip I use to make it even more effective.

Have a red pen handy.

In this photo, taken from a recent notebook of mine, you can see how I use it when reporting from the courts.  Note the red underlinings and the red asterisks.  That’s because at any moment in courtrooms, a witness could say something sensational, or the defendant add some new detail that’s not been heard before.  That’s when I reach for my red pen.

It ensures that when the court finishes for the day at about 4.30pm, and I’ve got less than two hours to structure, write, edit and upload my TV report, I immediately know where the most powerful bits were.  Without my red ink, I’d face a sea of dark blue, and that wouldn’t help focus my mind at all.

So next time you’re in a meeting and feel a little overwhelmed with the incoming information, add one or two splashes of colour to your notebook when you hear the bits you REALLY want to remember.  It doesn’t have to be red — you may prefer a nice shade of green.  But they could be the only bits of the meeting that mattered.

If you’d like to experience the energy of working in a busy newsroom, I’d love to hear from you — you can find out much more about my workplace-skills workshops on my website

You’re busy, I’m busy.  So I keep these little thoughts, all nicked from the TV newsroom, to five pithy paragraphs.  If they’re helpful, do share them!

I got the shock of my life the other day.  A press officer called up the newsroom, spoke to me, and asked if I’d be interested in a story.  She said she thought it might be right for our audience, perhaps in the light-hearted slot before the weather.

She hadn’t emailed me.  She hadn’t used Mailchimp.  She hadn’t sent me anything at all.  What she had done, I thought to myself, was rather revolutionary.  She had actually communicated with me, making me and my programme feel valued.  And that made me warm to her — and her story.  So I then asked her to email me all the details.

Somewhere over the last twenty or so years, it seems to me, our ideas of communication have got scrambled.  I do it myself running my business: I’ll reach the end of the day and feel that because I’ve sent fifty emails, I’ve communicated with fifty people.  But I haven’t really: I’ve offered information to fifty people who are probably drowning in information already, possibly annoyed some of them, and may well have been ignored by most of the rest.

So I try to call people more these days, and it’s having wonderful results.  I think using speech shows you actually care.  A very senior TV News Editor confided in me once that when he gets a complaint, before he touches his keyboard he tries to call the person to talk it through.  They’re usually so flattered that peace immediately breaks out.  When I run my TV News themed business-skills workshops, I try and call up as many of the guests as possible a day or two beforehand to ask them what they hope to get out of it.  Several have told me it puts them at ease about something they may have been a bit nervous about.

Of course, you can’t call everyone, all the time.  Calling up someone who has no reason at all to want to hear from you amounts to cold-calling, and I’m not recommending too much of that.  But if a relationship is already established, I’d suggest picking up the phone as soon as possible.  It might be the shock that jump-starts the relationship.

If you’d like to find out more about how I create mini-newsrooms in your workplace to help your staff develop their focus, timekeeping and decision-making, do give me a call on 01273 606246 or 07850 188620!   Though an email will be welcome, too …

Pic courtesy of arstechnica.co.uk

You’re busy, I’m busy.  So I keep these tips to five pithy paragraphs.  Spread the word if you find them worthwhile! 


People quite often ask me what it’s like to read the TV news.  “Don’t you get nervous speaking to all those people?  How do you concentrate with all that chatter going on in your ear through your earpiece?  It must take lots of training!”  My response is always that it’s a lot easier than you might think.  But at a networking event the other day, somebody put it to me another way.

“I imagine it’s a bit like what we’re doing right now,” she said, looking conspiratorially around the room.  “You’re concentrating on what one person’s saying, and talking to them yourself, but let’s face it, all the while you’re perfectly aware of what’s going on around you and maybe even half listening to a conversation next to you …”

I thought to myself what an honest and accurate assessment that was.  Yes, as a newsreader you of course want the audience to have your undivided attention — you want to convey the gravity, or humour, of a news story in a way that is appropriate.  But you will also be tuning in to the director in your ear telling you that the next live interview is ready, and they’ll be in the big screen over your left shoulder … stand by, ten seconds …

It’s a form of multi-tasking.  And we all do that.  So my tip this week isn’t about how to read the news.  It’s about self belief.  If there’s a job in your workplace that you really want, but you’re sure you couldn’t possibly do it because you lack the technical skills, ask yourself whether you might be using those skills already but in a different place … out networking, perhaps, or organising the kids each day, or performing in your team on the sports pitch.

Of course, it may be the case that people in that job you crave rather like to give the impression it’s all terribly difficult, and only a gifted few could possibly do it.  But I’d urge you to question that.  Heart surgeon, airline pilot, rocket scientist — I certainly don’t have the technical expertise to do them.  But some things don’t need great technical expertise.  Reading off an autocue, in my view, is one of them.  Maybe your next job is one of them, too.


You can find out for yourself how easy it is to read off an autocue on the homepage of my website — or by coming to my next newsroom themed workshop in Brighton on 10 November!  And if you’d like to actually see and hear what’s going on behind the scenes of a TV studio, my ‘Secret Life of a the TV News’ illustrated talk may be a perfect ice-breaker for your next conference or away-day.

Getting It Done By Lunchtime

My free to download No Jargon, No Nonsense Guide to help you and your teams hit your deadlines, day after day — based on many years’ experience presenting and reporting for lunchtime news bulletins.


Get in Touch

If you find these forms a bit annoying, just give me a call on 07850 188620 or 01273 606246 — I always like to chat about how I might be able to help.  Or just send an email to john@johnyoungmedia.co.uk — letting me know what you have in mind, and we can take it from there.  If you do like the forms, don’t forget to put something in each box marked with a *.

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